The Laughing Otter- because life’s just too short

Happy Birthday (Not for the squeamish)

Posted on: November 30, 2008

As I write this, my son is exactly one day old. Officially 24 hours.

Happy First Day of Life:

Born Nov. 21, 2008 at 9:27pm.
Weight: 8lbs 13oz
Length: 21 1/2 inches

So my last post, I left off waiting for the second dose of prostaglandins. I got those at 12:30pm, and that’s when the contractions really started to hit. I had my first real contraction, with the beginning, peak, and end, at just after 1pm. (I made notes. Thank Heaven for text messaging to my email! I’d never remember all this.)

At first, the contractions were difficult but I could breathe through them. I did, too. I was worried, at first, because after that first set of good contractions, they started to slow down that afternoon. By four or five I was thinking “I may need that third dose of prostaglandins to keep things moving” but a good walk around kick started them. For the rest of the evening, through the night, and into the next morning I was contracting regularly between three and five minutes apart, with contractions strong enough to need to breathe through. (By ‘breathe through’ I mean take concentrated breaths and do the ‘pant pant bloooow’ sort of breathing.) I spent the night in the bathtub. Quite literally, actually. I got into the tub to help ease the contraction pains, and never got out. I spent the night, catching three to five minute naps between contractions, dozing off with my head propped in the corner.

It was really frustrating, actually… I was examined three times, and in an entire day of strong contractions I hadn’t dilated. At all. They were calling it a ‘fingertip dilation’ because I had softened but not opened at all in the cervix, and so I was technically at… oh, call it .5 dilation.

At 4:10 in the morning, I had a positive sign though- I lost the mucous plug that plugs up the end of the cervix, a pretty sure sign of dilation, although by no means a sign of imminent birth. The rest of my night was spent in the tub, breathing and dozing.

At 8am the next morning (The 21st) the midwife and nurses visited me with news I dreaded and news I loved- I had, at some point in the night, dilated to five centimeters. That’s three fingerwidths, for those of you who care. I was delighted with the progress I had made, and that made the next announcement all the more bitter- it was time for an IV. I needed to have at least the saline lock, just in case. I had fought it the entire day before, but since I was officially in active labor now, I needed it just in case.

I dread needles. I used to get hysterical and throw up at the thought of giving blood (and this was just under a year ago, not back when I was a kid). But I consented, because they insisted it was policy and neccessary… and because my mom acknowledged that it was time. I would fight ‘policy’ and even whether or not my version of ‘neccessary’ is the same as the hospitals… but my mom knows. She knows what I feel about needles, and she knows policy, and I trust her to balance the scales, so to speak. So, my first event of the day was an IV at 8:40am, put in by IV Therapy (those wonderful people who specialize in intravenous therapies.)

It turned out to be a godsend.

In an effort to stimulate natural contractions to strengthen, they broke my water at 11:30am. By noon, I was contracting a little more but not quite enough. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean little contractions. They were nauseating, and intense enough to require serious concentration to breathe through each time. At around 12:30p or just after, I decided to try medication to relax. I was exhausted… I couldn’t breathe for the pain, and in order to dilate you really do need to be able to relax between each contraction and let your body do it’s thing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any rest. We used the IV for fluids, since I was a bit dehydrated, and then to put in the Fentynal. That’s a narcotic designed to take the edge off of pain without dulling the sensation of contractions.

It worked for about ten minutes.

They called an anesthesiologist to come in around 2pm, and discussed the options.

We discussed the narcotics, which didn’t work, and then we discussed epidurals. For the first time, someone could actually sit down and show me pieces of the epidural kit, tell me exactly what was going to happen, when, and where, and so on. And at 3:00pm, I chose to get the relief that it was offering. By then, my contractions had increased more, so that they were incredibly intense and overlapping. They had, by this point, inserted an internal contraction monitor, which registers an accurate scale for contractions. It was registering that the contractions were not only overwhelmingly intense, but were not breaking in between- that means that before one finished, the next one started. The epidural took ten minutes to kick in, and it was the longest ten minutes of my life- I couldn’t even breathe for the pain.

That lasted for about a half hour before the ‘light’ epidural wore off. They were trying to not overwhelm my sensation with medication, but I needed another dose of a much stronger anesthetic (the sort where you can’t move your own legs) and then an extra dose of it, plus my mom made liberal use of the little ‘more please’ button.

And I still felt every contraction. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the contractions in my back or my front (my uterus) but I did feel them in my butt. Nobody tells you about butt labor! It did mean, though, that I could relax enough that by 7:40 when I had my last exam, I was fully dilated and allowed to start pushing. It also meant that I could feel when to push, so I could choose to push with the need instead of having to rely on the monitor or the midwife to tell me when to push.

I have to admit, I was bored the first half of pushing. I could barely feel anything, and nothing was happening. That boredom went away when I could feel him… and really went away during the last half, when the pain made boredom totally impossible. It took twenty seven pushes to get my baby, and an episiotomy.

In the end, though, I have a beautiful baby boy. He’s not fussy and he’s not high-needs- he only cries when he needs something, and usually that’s very simple to figure out. A diaper, a breast, a hug, or a burp… and when he’s naked. Not fond of naked, that’s for certain!

Now. Having finally finished my birth story and his birthday story, it is the 30th of the month… and he is officially nine days old. XD I think that posting might be a little slow, what do you think?


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  • Humidity Temperature: the pet store here in our area offers me a great deal of discount when i buy from them :,'
  • dtfanatics: Ohh such a beautiful tribute! ^^ Visit my blog and tell me what you think please =)
  • Kyoki: Awesome! Let me know when, and maybe we can meet!


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